If there’s one email marketing metric that you need to give your utmost attention to, it’s your average open rate. Think about it. Your entire campaign hinges on whether your subscribers open your emails or not. And that’s exactly why you need to do everything in your power to improve your open rates.
So what are open rates and why should you bother with them?
Average open rate, in terms of email marketing, refers to the percentage of subscribers who opened an email campaign. For example, if you send a campaign out to 10,000 subscribers and 4,500 subscribers open the campaign, your average open rate would be 45%.
However, if there are instances of bounced or undelivered emails, you’ll have to subtract them from your number of total emails sent. Say, in our above example, 300 emails bounced. Your open rate will then be (9,700/4,500)X100 = 46.39%.
While many marketers put more effort into improving their clickthrough rates, that is putting the cart before the horse if your average open rate is low. Your first port of call in improving your campaigns should always be improving your open rates. Just a slight increase could result in a boost in sales and revenue.
I’m sure by now you’re wondering what a good average open rate is. Well, in all honesty, that question doesn’t have a clear cut answer. That’s because open rates are influenced by a number of factors, some of which include:
And this is why you need to understand industry average open rates. These will help you set benchmarks for your own campaigns. Mailchimp’s research revealed that the average open rate across all industries stood at 21.33%. Other interesting takeaways from the report include:
One reason the industries with the highest open rates enjoy such opens is that they are hyper-relevant in terms of what their subscribers are looking for.
So what’s the average open rate in your industry?
Check out Mailchimp’s report and use it to gauge the performance of your campaigns. Remember, it’s not about competing with your industry average open rate - rather, use it as a yardstick to help you improve your campaigns.
|Agriculture and Food Services||Beauty and Personal Care||Business and Finance||Computers and Electronics||Creative Services/Agency||E-Commerce||Education and Training||Entertainment and Events||Games||Government||Health and Fitness||Home and Garden||Insurance||Manufacturing||Marketing and Advertising||Media and Publishing||Medical, Dental, and Healthcare||Non-Profit||Real Estate||Restaurant||Software and Web App|
Average Open Rate
Average Click Rate
Now that you understand what average open rate means and its implications on your campaigns, let’s dive into how you can help improve this important metric.
One reason email marketing is so powerful is that it is permission-based. Permission-based marketing means your audience gives you explicit consent to communicate with them concerning the products and services you provide.
When it comes to email marketing, that consent is given when a person subscribes to your email list.Click to preview
While this may seem like an easy thing to do, it does have it’s landmines. For example, you’ll have to ensure that you’re GDPR compliant. Failure to do so could result in your business being on the wrong end of the law. To ensure proper opt-in, ensure you use double opt-in when signing up new subscribers. Single and implicit opt-in could result in a subscriber ignoring future emails or reporting you for spam. This could especially happen if all they wanted from you was one thing, say a downloadable resource, for example.
By following opt-in best practices, you ensure that the quality of your list is good, and that results in good open rates
Once people have signed up for your email list, don’t assume they’ll remain engaged. Research shows that email lists decay by an average of 22% every year. This is exactly why you need to manage your email list - very carefully. Besides the email decay reducing your average open rate, it could also lead to other consequences such as:
So how do you manage and maintain a healthy email list?
Consider these few tips and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy email list and higher open rates:
Regularly maintaining your email list will help you see a great improvement in your open rates. Remember, a healthy email list always results in higher engagement, which is a result of good open rates.
It goes without saying, if your emails don’t reach their intended destinations, they won’t be opened. In fact, according to a report by Sendgrid, 21% of opt-in emails never reach the inbox. This is why you need to work on ensuring your deliverability rates are high.
So how can you improve your deliverability?
Here are a few pointers:
Segmenting your email list according to subscriber interest gives you a powerful opportunity to cross-sell or upsell. Because the customers in this segment already bought (or showed interest in) a certain product, chances of a well-crafted and highly targeted email can lead them to buy again.
This method of segmentation is especially powerful as:
Email deliverability is a crucial part of improving your average open rate. If it seems like a daunting undertaking, enlist the help of professionals like Inbox Army to help you with it.
Now that your emails have made it into your subscribers’ inboxes, your open rates will automatically improve, right?
Once your emails reach their destination, one of the most critical elements that can drastically improve your average open rate is your subject line.
Your subject line, short as it is, is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal when it comes to improving your open rates. This is why you have to ensure your subject line hooks your readers and compels them to open your email. To do that:
Nailing your subject lines is important when it comes to getting people to click and open your emails. Enlist the help of a great copywriter to help you. Remember, you’re competing with at least 120 other emails in your subscribers’ inbox - in a single day.
Next to the subject line, your pre-header text is the other most important element that helps your subscribers decide whether they want to open your email or not. Preheader text is to your email what the “Johnson Box” was to snail mail. It is a concise summary of what your email is all about and is placed next to or under the subject line. It is another opportunity for you to pitch your email to your reader.
If the pre-header is designed well, more people will open your email.
So, what makes for good preheader text?
Here are some tips for crafting a preheader that will help you improve your average open rate:
When people see the preview of your email in your inbox, you have limited real estate to convince them to open. Used well, this limited real estate (preheader text) can make the difference between an open and an email that disappears into the dark corners of the inbox.
Particularly when onboarding new subscribers (through a welcome campaign), it’s important to let them know what to expect in subsequent emails.Click to preview
How does this impact your average email open rate?
People want to know what they should expect from you. By clearly setting expectations at the beginning, you:
Not only is it important to set expectations, but make sure to meet them as well. Nothing puts subscribers off more than not getting what they’d been promised in a welcome email.
We’ve already talked about personalization in passing. But what is personalization and how does it influence your average open rate.Click to preview
Contrary to popular belief, personalization doesn’t just end with including the recipient’s name in the subject line. Personalization goes further than this and also includes creating content that is:
When your subscribers feel like you know them well and deliver content tailored for them, they’ll definitely consume your content regularly. Your average open rate will shoot through the roof.
Why did your subscribers give you the privilege of being able to reach their inboxes?
In most cases, it’s because you promised to be delivering valuable content to them. And that’s exactly what you need to do. Failure to do so will result in your email open rates tanking.
On the flipside, consistently delivering value in your content will result in an improvement of your average open rate. And here’s how you can ensure that every email you send will be value-packed:
When your subscribers know that every email you send will benefit them, they’ll religiously open your emails.
When it comes to getting your emails opened, timing is everything - well, almost.Click to preview
While there’s no particular day or time that has been proven to increase open rates, it’s advisable to send emails at a time when your subscribers are awake and alert. In most cases, when an email lands in their mailbox, it will likely go unnoticed.
However, getting a notification while they’re awake instills an element of urgency, leading to - you guessed it, an open.
So how do you get the perfect timing?
Through experimentation. Try out different times for each of your segments and see which time gives you the best open rates. However, note that a few factors contribute to your timing, factors such as:
So, check your segments and test, test, test until you find the perfect sending time.
With over 40% of emails being consumed on mobile devices, you just have to ensure all your email templates are mobile responsive. But that’s not the only stat that proves the importance of ensuring your campaigns are mobile-friendly. Consider these 2 (among many):
As long as a subscriber does not engage with your emails for a pre-determined period of time (usually 6 months), they are classified as being inactive. Action needs to be taken with these as they can negatively impact your campaigns and, more importantly, your sender reputation. And that's one of the main reasons you need to create a segment in your email list for inactive subscribers.
Being mobile responsive is no longer an option. If you want to increase your average open rate, it’s mandatory.
Sure you’re sending emails on behalf of your business. But does that necessarily mean you should use your business’s name in the “from” field?
Well, if you want to increase your opens, it’s best you use a “from” name your recipients will connect to emotionally. And usually, that will be a first name. Here’s an example from CoSchedule:Click to preview
By personalizing the “from” field, the reader will feel like they’re talking to a real person and not just a business. This will influence more readers to open your emails and, of course, improve your open rates. It will also reduce the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam.
Another great way to improve your average email open rates is to run a re-engagement campaign. Re-engagement simply means running a campaign to get inactive subscribers to start engaging with your emails again.Click to preview
In order to nail your engagement campaign:
Running a re-engagement will not only get your open rates to increase, but it will also positively impact your bottom line.
This is where many small businesses miss it. They create a campaign and run it without A/B testing. A/B testing is simply the (good) practice of testing certain elements of your emails to ensure you send the version that is more effective. Elements you should test include:
Create variations of your email and test it by sending it to small portions of your list. The one that drives the more opens (and clickthroughs) is the one you should send to the rest of your list/segment.
Improving your average open rate is a critical component of e-commerce success. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not as difficult as it may seem you just need to know how to go about it.
If you need help running and executing email campaigns that move your revenue needle up, don’t hesitate to give us a shout.
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